Sunday, January 16, 2011

Assuming what you have to prove

The latest example of unscientific thinking from Warmists below. That high levels of CO2 did at one time accompany high temperatures does not prove that the CO2 CAUSED the high temperatures. There are plenty of other occasions (like the last 10 or 15 years) where the two did not move together at all -- which is good DISPROOF of a causative relationship. As philosophers from Hume onward have concluded, constant conjunction is a NECESSARY condition for causation

The magnitude of climate change during Earth’s deep past suggests that future temperatures may eventually rise far more than projected if society continues its pace of emitting greenhouse gases, a new analysis concludes. The study, by National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) scientist Jeffrey Kiehl, will appear as a “Perspectives” piece in this week’s issue of the journal Science.

Building on recent research, the study examines the relationship between global temperatures and high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere tens of millions of years ago. It warns that, if carbon dioxide emissions continue at their current rate through the end of this century, atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gas will reach levels that last existed about 30 million to 100 million years ago, when global temperatures averaged about 29 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial levels.

Kiehl said that global temperatures may gradually rise over the next several centuries or millennia in response to the carbon dioxide. Elevated levels of the greenhouse gas may remain in the atmosphere for tens of thousands of years, according to recent computer model studies of geochemical processes that the study cites.

The study also indicates that the planet’s climate system, over long periods of times, may be at least twice as sensitive to carbon dioxide than currently projected by computer models, which have generally focused on shorter-term warming trends. This is largely because even sophisticated computer models have not yet been able to incorporate critical processes, such as the loss of ice sheets, that take place over centuries or millennia and amplify the initial warming effects of carbon dioxide.

Jeffrey Kiehl: “If we don’t start seriously working toward a reduction of carbon emissions, we are putting our planet on a trajectory that the human species has never experienced,” says Kiehl, a climate scientist who specializes in studying global climate in Earth’s geologic past. “We will have committed human civilization to living in a different world for multiple generations.”


We may one day wish we really had anthropogenic global warming

I confess that I have a simple idea about science. I think that any scientific claim is meaningful only if it is falsifiable. If hypothesis X or theory Y is viable, each has to state what data will confirm it and, what is the same thing, what data will refute it. The Daily Caller asks the obvious question concerning Anthropogenic Global Warming:

"Increased warm temperatures indicate global warming. Severe winter storms also help prove global warming, according to a recent op-ed in the New York Times. So is there any weather pattern that would disprove or call into question the existence of global warming?"

I thought it obvious that one day, or one year, or even a decade of temperature records can't confirm or refute the proposition that we are in a period of long term warming. Only long term records can speak to that. Apparently I was wrong.

"And now, what about all this [cold, snowy] weather?" ["World News Tonight," anchor Diane] Sawyer said. "The experts on climate change say the evidence is in: 2010 is tied for the hottest year ever on record. And last year, it was the wettest one in recorded history. And those scientists say that's why we're reeling from the deadly weather extremes."

So hot weather, cold weather and wet weather all confirm "climate change." One wonders about dry weather. At least now we understand why "climate change" has replaced "global warming" as the term of choice.

The AGW ideology has always rested on the answer to several specific questions. First, are we in a period of long term warming? The answer to that is very probably yes, at least until recently. It has tapered off a bit, but there was surely a spike in the last half of the last century. Second, is human activity influencing that spike? I think that question is very hard to answer, but let's assume it is yes. Third, can national policies and international agreements modify human activity in a way that might have a significant influence on climate change?

That is the easiest question to answer and the answer is definitely no. Neither the developed nations nor India and China are going to voluntarily restrict carbon emissions (economic growth), let alone reduce emissions/growth to 19th century levels. Here, all the data and common sense converge and there is no reasonable doubt that the proposition is refuted.

Almost all the public conversation has been confined to the first three questions, but there is a fourth. Is further global warming a bad thing for us? AGW ideology simple assumes that the answer is yes. The ideology recognizes that question only in order to answer it with nightmare scenarios.

Powerline directs our attention to a recent article in Reuters manages to raise the question while trying to bury it:

"Climate change seems a factor in the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, according to a study of ancient tree growth that urges greater awareness of the risks of global warming in the 21st century."

Well, that seems relevant. If global warming doomed the Romans (here we thought it was Christianity and the Germans) then surely it can doom us. Of course it seems unlikely that the industrial output of the Roman Empire really had a large carbon footprint, but let that aside.

The problem is that it warming wasn't the problem for the Romans or for anyone else so far:

"Good growth by oak and pine trees in central Europe in the past 2,500 years signaled warm and wet summers and coincided with periods of wealth among farming societies, for instance around the height of the Roman empire or in medieval times.

Periods of climate instability overlapped with political turmoil, such as during the decline of the Roman Empire, and might even have made Europeans vulnerable to the Black Death or help explain migration to America during the chill 17th century."

Warm and wet climates have been good for the Romans and for Medieval Europe and for human beings in general. So what has been bad? Reuters's villain is "climate instability," which almost avoids saying "cold." That bit about the "chill 17th century," however, gives the game away.

The terrible truth may be that civilization arose in and only because of an unusual warming period. If that is the truth, God help us, we are probably doomed in pretty short order (historically speaking). Meanwhile, warming has always been good for us and there is no reason to think that that will be different in the future. Individual persons and societies in general suffer much more from cold than from heat. If or when the global climate cycles back and the glaciers return, let us hope that human activity really can heat up the world.


That "hottest year" claim again

Those all-important tenths of one degree! On any rational scale the temperatures promulgated by the Warmists have been flat in recent years

The global warming establishment and the media are crowing about 2010 being in a tie for the “hottest year" ever. Everyone from Senator John Kerry to Joe Romm are screaming that this is “proof” the planet is burning up in a Co2 induced hell -- and it's your fault!

It is time for Climate Depot to do a point-by-point rebuttal to the latest round of temperature data nonsense. Let's begin:
Below are excerpts from the January 13, 2011 UK Telegraph's coverage of the warmists' claim of the “hottest year" ever.

UK Telegraph Headline Claim: “Flood warnings: hottest year confirms global warming say experts -- Last year was the joint warmest on record, according to new figures from NASA, that experts say confirm the case for man-made climate change.”

Climate Depot Response: This is pure politics, not science. The "hottest year" claims confirm the case for political science overtaking climate science. The “hottest year” claim depends on minute fractions of a degree difference between years. Even NASA's James Hansen, the leading proponent of man-made global warming in the U.S., conceded the "hottest year" rankings are essentially meaningless. Hansen explained that 2010 differed from 2005 by less than 2 hundredths of a degree F (that's 0.018F). "It's not particularly important whether 2010, 2005, or 1998 was the hottest year on record," Hansen admitted on January 13.

According to NASA, none of agencies tasked with keeping the global temperature data agree with each other. "Rankings of individual years often differ in the most closely watched temperature analyses — from GISS, NCDC, and the UK Met Office — a situation that can generate confusion."

Meteorologist Dr. Ryan Maue of Florida State University ridiculed the "hottest year" rankings and Hansen's admission that it "was not particularly important" which year was declared the "hottest." "Well, then stop issuing press releases which tout the rankings, which are subject to change ex post facto," Maue demanded in a January 14 commentary at

The “warmest year” claim falls apart even further when you look at even slightly longer time scales. Climatologist Patrick Michaels explained to USA Today on January 12: “If you draw a trend line from the data, it's pretty flat from the 1990s. We don't see much of a warming trend over the past 12 years.”

Also note that the planet has warmed since about 1850, the end of the Little Ice Age.

The declaration that we are experiencing a tie for the "hottest" year is purely a political statement because these claims are based on year-to-year temperature data that differs by only a few hundredths of a degree. NASA asserts that the trend over the last decade is the most important factor, but this claim does not hold up to scrutiny either. See: German Climate Professor Werner Kirstein Slams 'Climate Religion': Refutes claims of 'hottest decade' as 'a joke' -- 'Determining a global avg. is a tricky business and in the end is only a theoretical value'

MIT's Richard Lindzen: Earth is never in equilibrium: 'Global warming enthusiasts are arguing that the past decade has been the warmest on record. We are still speaking of tenths of a degree, and the records themselves have come into question'

MIT's Richard Lindzen: 'For small changes in climate associated with tenths of a degree, there is no need for any external cause'

MIT's Richard Lindzen: 'Lull in warming was unsurprising, given an earlier 'obsessing about tenths of a degree in the 1980s and early 1990s': 'Global temperature just fluctuates. I think the best explanation is the ocean. The timescale for ocean circulations can be decades.'

Meteorologist Art Horn: 'To say the 2010 was tied with the warmest year on record is essentially meaningless when viewed in a true historical context': 'The reason they do not give this record its true historical context is because their statement is really political'

Science Corrupted: It's 'the hottest year on record', as long as you don't take its temperature -- Activist James Hansen's claims based on 'pure conjecture' -- Hansen's Climate Con: 'The parts of the world which GISS shows to be heating up the most are so short of weather stations that only 25 per cent of the figures are based on actual temperature readings'

2007: Team of Scientists Question Validity of a 'Global Temperature' - Excerpt: "Discussions on global warming often refer to 'global temperature.' Yet the concept is thermodynamically as well as mathematically an impossibility, says Physicist Dr. Bjarne Andresen, a professor at The Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen. "It is impossible to talk about a single temperature for something as complicated as the climate of Earth." "A temperature can be defined only for a homogeneous system.

He explains that while it is possible to treat temperature statistics locally, it is meaningless to talk about a global temperature for Earth. "The globe consists of a huge number of components which one cannot just add up and average. That would correspond to calculating the average phone number in the phone book. That is meaningless. Or talking about economics, it does make sense to compare the currency exchange rate of two countries, whereas there is no point in talking about an average 'global exchange rate.'"

Are Modern Temperature Changes 'Unprecedented?' The Data Clearly Reveals Modern Temp Changes To Be Normal -- 'Unfortunately for all alarmists, the real data reveals the bogosity of their claims'

Warmists at Grist Mag. Upset at failed PR Stunt of 'Hottest' Year: 'The timing couldn't be worse: with snow in every state but Florida (yes, even Hawaii)... And scientists wonder why they continue to see [low] poll numbers'

Analysis: NOAA & NCDC Pursue Goal of 'Warmest Year Ever' For 2010 - Release Newly 'Fabricated' Global Temperatures

Analysis: '150 years of 'records' is not long. It was warmer 1000 years ago, 2000 years ago, 5000 years ago and 130,000 years ago'

Much more HERE (See the original for links)

Taxpayer’s funding NSF program to teach meteorologists about climate change

The National Science Foundation (NSF) launched a program in 2010 called Climate Change Education Partnership (CCEP). In this program they funded different opportunities to educate about climate change by giving funds (awards) to colleges who drafted proposals on how they would spend the money. One such proposal caught my eye. The program is entitled "Making the Global Local - Unusual Weather Events as Climate Change Educational Opportunities" and it is taking place at George Mason University (GMU). Here is the program description:

This project will focus on establishing a national network of on-air broadcast meteorologists, climate scientists, university research programs, and key climate and weather science organizations, to engage, train, and empower local broadcast meteorologists to educate and inform the American public about climate.

Training meteorologists to educate the American public about climate change? That sounds strange, but I was prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they simply want meteorologists to give the facts without any pre-conceived position on the subject. However, I dug a little further and found a job description for this program. I've taken a screen capture, take note of the highlighted area (click if needed):

Did they really just say that? Let's look again:

"The project will integrate informal learning, mass communication, and experiential learning theories to develop and test new pedagogical approaches to informal science education through frequent mass media exposure, linked to realworld experience (i.e., the local weather). It will also adapt and test conflict resolution theory and practice to engage meteorologists who reject the scientific consensus and climate scientists in constructive dialogue."

Adapt and test conflict resolution theory? Practice to engage meteorologists who reject the scientific consensus?

This is taxpayer's money funding this stuff. Taxpayers are funding a program to "practice to engage meteorologists who reject the scientific consensus". I contacted Anthony Watts and he wrote this post about it. I also contacted Joe Bastardi for his opinion. To paraphrase, he stated that the he believes that the data will prove the research correct and worrying about funding is only a distraction from forecasting. John Coleman has not yet responded.


The Queensland Floods prove once again the unfalsifiability of Warmism -- making it a religion, not a science

Yet another demonstration that they have no predictive skill -- but "post hoc" explanations for everything

In what is sure to be yet further embarrassment for advocates of the theory of man-made global warming it has emerged that climate scientists pinning the blame for the Queensland floods on global warming have been contradicting a report published by other climate scientists just weeks earlier.

Let’s start with the story from climate scientists just before the floods. On October 11th 2010 the Science Daily website reported on the publication of perhaps the most authoritative study yet on the effects of global warming on drought in the southern hemisphere.

The study “Recent decline in the global land evapotranspiration trend due to limited moisture supply” was published in the prestigious Nature magazine and, as Science Daily reported, included many of the leading climate science research institutes across the world:

"This study was authored by a large group of international scientists, including from OSU; lead author Martin Jung from the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Germany; and researchers from the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science in Switzerland, Princeton University, the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, Harvard University, and other groups and agencies."

The study was an milestone for the climate science community and was an international effort. It found that soils were drying up in many parts of the southern hemisphere, including Australia and that this was leading to less moisture in the atmosphere:

"Most climate models have suggested that evapotranspiration, which is the movement of water from the land to the atmosphere, would increase with global warming. The new research, published online this week in the journal Nature, found that’s exactly what was happening from 1982 to the late 1990s.

But in 1998, this significant increase in evapotranspiration — which had been seven millimeters per year — slowed dramatically or stopped. In large portions of the world, soils are now becoming drier than they used to be, releasing less water and offsetting some moisture increases elsewhere."

The study reported that Australia was one of the worst affected areas, but the loss of moisture in the atmosphere was widespread over the entire southern hemisphere:

"A recent decrease in atmospheric relative humidity detected over Australia could be caused by declining ET on the Australian continent.

Jung et. al. Recent Decline in the Global Land Evapotranspirsation Trend Due to Limited Moisture Supply. Nature. 951–954(21 October 2010)"

That seemed to settle matters. As Tim Flannery put it, coal fired power stations “emit much of the CO2 that is the ultimate cause of the drying”. Even more ominous, “Australia is likely to lose its northern rainfall” (New Scientist. Editorial: Australia, Not Such a Lucky Country. June 2007).

- That was before the floods -

Following the devastating Queensland floods, many activist scientists rushed to link them to global warming, and what’s more, they had a good reason why the floods were so severe – increased moisture in the atmosphere:

“I think people will end up concluding that at least some of the intensity of the monsoon in Queensland can be attributed to climate change,” said Matthew England of the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

“The waters off Australia are the warmest ever measured and those waters provide moisture to the atmosphere for the Queensland and northern Australia monsoon,” he told Reuters."

Whoops. Surely he’d read the study in Nature, only weeks previously? Maybe not.

The Climate Progress could hardly contain their glee at all the scientists stepping forward to pin the blame for the floods on increased moisture in the air thanks to global warming. In a particularly tasteless story headlined Terrific ABC News Story: "Raging Waters in Australia and Brazil Product of Global Warming" (nice, ey?) they quoted climate scientist Richard Somerville and others on what caused the floods. Moisture in the air again, they said. Same thing that’s causing all the snow:

“Because the whole water cycle speeds up in a warming world, there’s more water in the atmosphere today than there was a few years ago on average, and you’re seeing a lot of that in the heavy rains and floods for example in Australia,” Sommervile said

Derek Arndt, chief of NOAA’s Climate Monitoring Branch in the National Climate Data Center, said 2010 was “an exclamation point on several decades of warming.

He said NOAA is tracking disasters like the floods in Brazil and Australia. “We are measuring certain types of extreme events that we would expect to see more often in a warming world, and these are indeed increasing,” Arndt said.

The added moisture in the atmosphere also explains the phenomenon we’ve seen this week at home — where snow blanketed the ground in 49 of 50 states."

So which is it, guys? Does global warming mean more moisture over Australia and therefore floods, or less moisture over Australia and therefore drought? Does it mean warmer winters and therefore less snow, or colder winters and therefore more snow? Can you at least get your stories straight?

SOURCE (See the original for links)

A letter to the Warmists from flood-hit Queensland

There should be a weir across every flood-prone river in Qld. It could happen if the government stoped spending money on Greenie fads and spent it on useful things instead

For those who are unaware of it, a weir is a low-cost but very efficient water regulation system. It's just a big lump of concrete across a river with a fixed outlet pipe at the bottom of the weir which is wide enough to let normal flows through only. So when floods hit, water levels rise and when a drought hits, water levels fall. The result is a steady flow in the river which is good for both the creatures in the river and the people who use it for water. It naturally preserves "environmental flows". Post below by a pseudonymous blogger -- JR

I am sitting here in my home in South East Queensland, watching the news come in about the flooding everywhere. Entire suburbs around Brisbane and several smaller towns are either isolated by flood-waters or have been evacuated. Highways are cut everywhere.

People have been dying. So far about 20 people have died in the past week – nine just this morning when a deluge went through the Lockyer Valley. Most of them children. Another 70 are missing. One could put it all down to “just” weather.

Except EXACTLY the same floods occurred in EXACTLY the same places back in 1974, with much the same tragic loss of life and destruction of property.

Back then we weren’t nearly as clever and learned as you think yourselves to be today. Back then we had this silly notion that climate was cyclical, and if we didn’t prepare for it, we would have a repeat of the same tragedies to deal with in “about thirty years”. That was the thinking of the scientists back then – that climate went in roughly thirty year cycles.

Flood mitigation programs were planned. A series of levee banks and diversionary dams would be built. Brisbane and SE QLD would NEVER suffer such devastation again. After all, we had thirty years to plan and build and improve.

And that’s what we did – or at least started. Wivenhoe Dam got built as the first step, but by the time it was finished clever people like you lot who “knew” that such things were never going to happen again had taken over. CO2 AGW madness had already taken hold.

Instead we had “post modern” minds like Tim Flannery “advising” the government that because of Anthropogenic Global Warming, SE QLD would be perpetually in drought from then on. “Forget dams and flood mitigation programs”, intoned the wise Dr Tim – “build desalination plants instead”.

So that’s what our government did. And that is why thirty five years later, we are once again suffering exactly the SAME tragic loss of life and destruction of property, pretty-much exactly where, and when, and how, those stupid scientists who foolishly believed climate was cyclical had predicted.

Meanwhile our billion dollar desalination plant is quietly being mothballed, and emergency crews are frantically trying to work out how they might be able to save nineteen thousand homes from destruction in the next couple of days, as the Lockyer deluge hits Brisbane. Wise Dr Tim Flannery has been made ‘Australian of the Year” for his contributions.

I google on the internet for climate extremes and climate-related disasters in the 1972 – 1979 period – the period of the last transition in the natural weather cycle, and I find that it wasn’t a good period in many places around the world. Record and near record high – and low temperatures, record and near-record precipitation, and so on. Floods and droughts pretty-much mimicking what is happening now, and in pretty-much the same places.

I also noted that the indicators of the “silly” theory of the cyclical nature , ocean and atmospheric, are pretty much exactly as they are now.

I have to admit it could all get a bit depressing. But then I remember that the world is in the capable hands of much cleverer people than those silly scientists back in the Seventies who believed climate was cyclical. Now the decisions are being made by clever people like Dr Tim Flannery

– and you.

That is when I weep for my fellow Man.



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1 comment:

stevo064 said...

nice one